Benda Bilili!Closed Captioning
Florent de la Tullaye & Renaud Barret
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BENDA BILILI! follows an unlikely group of musicians in Kinshasa, capital of the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. The band, Staff Benda Bilili—in English, “look beyond”—is a group of street musicians composed of four paraplegics and three able bodied men. The core of the group is four singer/guitarists, who use customized tricycles to get around: Ricky, the eldest and a co-founding member of the band; Coco, the band’s composer and co-founding member with Ricky; Junana, the member most disabled by polio, yet the official choreographer; and Coude, a bass player and soprano singer. Joining them is a young and entirely acoustic rhythm section, led by Roger, a teenage prodigy on the satongé, a one-string guitar he designed and built himself out of a tin can.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 27
- Fresh: 25
- Rotten: 2
- Average Rating: 7.2/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: "Benda Bilili!" is brutally real, a document of willpower that shows not only the magic of transcendence - which may be fleeting - but also the transformation of aspiring to it, every struggling step of the way.
Fresh: This unsentimental, smartly assembled film is equally attentive to the cacophony of African poverty and the balm of harmony provided by these pied pipers of hope.
Fresh: "Benda Bilili!" earns its exclamation point. It's a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good, a story that will have you shaking your head in astonishment and moving your feet to some unstoppable rhythms.
Fresh: See the film to glimpse something of the band's awesome stage show.
Having lived in Congo for a good amount of time over the past 5 years, I can say with certainty that this is a masterpiece of a documentary. I am amazed by everything that had to go into making this film (which some might have said would have been impossible ), by the documentaries ability to poetically capture so many aspects of what Congo is, and of course by this very human story and the people who live it. Beautifully done. Shaking my head in awe... Wow.